In recent years, drones have also become essential tools for emergency responders. After a hurricane or flood, for example, drones have been used to survey an area to search for survivors. That lets rescue crews know exactly where to go.
Drones are useful when it comes to fighting wildfires too, says Justin Baxter. He works for the U.S. Forest Service. UAVs allow experts to track the blazes and determine where they might spread. That helps firefighters decide which residents need to evacuate.
“Drones give firefighters on the ground a better understanding of what the fire is doing,” Baxter explains. “That leads to better and quicker decision making.”
Plus, drones can fly at night or in thick smoke, when it’s not safe to send in helicopters with human pilots.